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Media Release by The Hon Tanya Pibersek MP

PM Launches Inaugural Meeting of National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Children

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd again demonstrated his commitment to reducing domestic violence by today addressing the first meeting of the Government’s National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children.

The Rudd Labor Government is honouring its election commitments by setting up the National Council and developing a National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children.

To reduce violence against women the Federal Government must undertake two key roles: national leadership and prevention.

As the Prime Minister said at this morning’s meeting, the nation and the community must adopt a zero tolerance attitude to violence against women and children.

There must be strong, focussed leadership to ensure the Commonwealth, States and Territories work together to try to prevent women and children from being subjected to violence and abuse.

New figures out today from Data Analysis Australia show that two out of every five women who get police and court protection experience further abuse from their previous partner after a restraining order has been taken out.

The figures also show that close to 90 per cent of women who are physically or sexually assaulted do not access any crisis support, legal help or helplines.

We know that violence occurs against women and children at all levels of society – across different suburbs, income categories, ages and cultural groups.

The physical and emotional effects of domestic violence are debilitating and can last a lifetime. We know we cannot eliminate forever violence against women and children, but we can reduce it.

That’s why the Government is developing its National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children.

The Council will assist with the development and implementation of the Plan by providing expert advice and direction to the Government to ensure evidence, best practice and innovation are properly considered. The Council is chaired by international human rights advocate, Libby Lloyd AM, with support from deputy-chair, Heather Nancarrow, Director of the Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research.

The nine other members of the Council are Lisa Wilkinson, Pauline Woodbridge, Vanessa Swan, Dorinda Cox, Andrew O’Keefe, Melanie Heenan, Associate Professor Moira Carmody, Maria Dimopoulos and Rachel Kayrooz.

Upcoming priorities include:

  • Developing respectful relationship resources for Australian high school students to educate young Australians, particularly boys, about the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault;
  • $1 million over four years to support White Ribbon Day education activities in rural and regional communities to promote culture-change that will reduce violence against women; and
  • Toughening and harmonising state and territory domestic violence and sexual assault laws.